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July 2008
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September 2008

Raising Venture Capital - What's It Worth?

When raising money for a startup, the most difficult question to answer is "What's your company Aa worth?"   I've seen complicated spreadsheets, anecdotal evidence and the most popular - the egos and hubris of the founders.     But valuing a company is much like selling a house, the answer is simple, your company is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it at the time. 

Not very helpful.

However if we think about real estate, there is a better way to get at the answer.   When you sell your house, the first thing you do is see how much houses are selling in your neighborhood.  In fact whenever you finance a house you get a report of comps (comparable) of houses which sold recently with corrections made based on a variety of factors.

You can do the same thing for your company.  The trick is finding valuations on companies like yours. 

A few weeks ago a VC friend of mine directed me to a site which does just that.  Venture Returns is a web site devoted to figuring out valuations.   Not only do this have some nifty tools to help you do this, they also have a very nice listing of companies in every catagory.   If you're still stuck, you can request comps in a very specific market and within a short period of time, they will give you a list.  Highly recommended.

Friends don't let CEOs blog posted "Why your CEO’s blog is fading into oblivion".   They talk about a a Forrester Research project "How To Derive Value From B2B Blogging" which said:Aa

Blogs read like tired, warmed-over press releases

Go read it.  But here's the part that had me in stitches.  One of the experts quoted by Ragan was John Dragoon, chief marketing officer at Novell.   They had a link to his official company blog where the last post was May 21st.   Ummmm, maybe he needs to read the Forrester report or give the author Laura Ramos a call.

Virtual Tools for Temporary Teams

Aa_2 I've been working with a very interesting startup company specializing in nuclear medicine research and development.  Since it is not possible to always be with the people you are working, it became apparent we needed a way to easily share documents and work in real time on a project.  (If you click on the image you can watch it rotate)

I'm using dropbox to share documents.  It's a light weight application which works on Macs and Windows and creates a shared folder.  Anything in the folder is automatically replicated.  Plus you can roll back to any version you wish. (bonus points - installing it on your own multiple machines makes sure you always have the correct file on hand).  All you do is create a shared folder, put in the other person's email address, they click on the link - done.

To share my screen with anyone I love Adobe ConnectNow.   It also works equally well with Macs and Windows.   Because everything is done in flash, you don't get that pesky Citrix client install used by other companies.   The screen refreshes are pretty good, but if you try to play a movie, there is too much lag.   It's a polished interface where you can move a file, chat and even supports web cams.   The only problem with that is I have to make sure I comb my hair before I start a session.   You can be talking on the phone, fire it up and send them an email link from inside the application.  They click and within a minute they are seeing your screen.

The price is right for both of these tools.   They're both beta.

So make sure you have a couple of these types of useful applications so you can work more easily with your virtual teams without having to put in an IT request.